Withdrawal, Transfer, Cancellation and Refund 2023

Approval Date
9 December 2022
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
31 December 2023
Deputy Chief Executive: Learner Journey
Baldrige Criteria

This policy applies to the withdrawal and refund of compulsory Otago Polytechnic Limited fees, transfer to other programmes of study/course(s) (including short courses), and cancellation of a programme of study/course(s) (including short courses).

  1. All learners will be treated equitably in respect of this policy.
  2. The rules for determining refunds, withdrawals, transfers, and cancellations are set out in the annually published Learner Rights and Responsibilities and the Terms and Conditions on the Otago Polytechnic Limited website.
  3. Application for changes to an enrolment including, withdrawal, transfer, cancellation and/or refund should be made to Academic Registry or the College/Programme administration office and must be in writing from the learner (an email or text (screenshot) is sufficient) and attached to the Otago Polytechnic Limited online Withdrawal, Transfer, Cancellation and Refund Form (able to be generated in EBS and populated with accurate learner enrolment data).
  4. A learner cannot be withdrawn from a programme of study/course(s) where the final assessment and/or the programme of study/course(s) end date has taken place and final results are due to be, or are, entered in the Student Management System (SMS).
    • Exceptions to this may be permitted for compassionate withdrawals (refer to Section Withdrawal on Compassionate Grounds).
  1. If Otago Polytechnic Limited ceases, cancels or postpones a programme of study/course(s)/course occurrence(s) all learner fees will be refunded in full or credited to another programme of study/course(s)/course occurrence(s) in the same calendar year at the learner’s request (refer to Cancellation or Cessation of Programmes, Courses and Course Occurrences Policy.
  2. If there has been an overpayment of fees, these are refunded to the person or organisation that paid the learner's fees. Otago Polytechnic Ltd will not be liable for any interest accrued on the amount of the overpayment.

 Notification and Date of Withdrawal

7. The withdrawal date from a programme of study/course(s)/course occurrence(s) is taken and recorded in the SMS as   the  date the learner notified Otago Polytechnic Limited in writing, of their intention to withdraw.

8. Otago Polytechnic Limited has the discretion to process the withdrawal in the SMS at a date earlier than the notified withdrawal date in circumstances where this is justified or necessary to not disadvantage the learner (for example where notification of withdrawal is delayed due to circumstances beyond the learner’s control).

 9. If a learner is withdrawing from all courses within a programme of study and a learner identification (ID) card has been issued it should be returned directly to OPSA or to the appropriate College staff member to return to OPSA.  

Withdrawal with Refunds    

10.  Learners may be entitled to a full or partial refund for a withdrawal where:

10.1 Otago Polytechnic Limited declines or withdraws an offer of a place to a learner.

10.2 If Otago Polytechnic Limited is unable to provide the programme of study/course(s) offered and considers it is necessary to cease, cancel or postpone a programme of study/course(s). 

10.2.1 The documentation will be completed by Otago Polytechnic Limited on behalf of the learner and no administration fee will be charged.

10.2.2 For international learners a one hundred percent (100%) refund of fees paid, minus any applicable administration fees, be calculated in New Zealand dollars and refunded to the person (or agent) who paid the fees in the learner’s country of origin.

10.3 The course occurrence(s) have not started.

10.4 The international learner’s permit/visa application is rejected or an extension to their visa/permit application is rejected by Immigration New Zealand. Satisfactory evidence of the rejected permit/visa by Immigration New Zealand must accompany the application.   

10.5 An international learner wishes to transfer to another institution, and notice is received by Academic Registry. The amount of the refund will depend on when the notice of the transfer is received.

11. Learners are eligible for a refund of all programmes of study/course(s) fees if they withdraw from a programme of study/course(s) (in the current year of enrolment) prior to ten percent (10%) after the commencement date of the programme of study/course(s) (‘refund date’). This is usually ten to twenty (10-20) working days, depending on whether course occurrence(s) are for one semester or the full academic year.  The exception to the ten percent (10%) refund date is Postgraduate Midwifery courses which have two (2) weeks from the commencement of the course to withdraw with a full refund.

11.1 For programmes of study/course(s) that commence outside of the main intake periods, the refund date is up until ten percent (10%) from the commencement of the programme of study/course(s).

11.2 When a learner has been admitted to a programme of study/course(s) after the commencement date, the refund date must be highlighted to the learner. The learner must also be alerted to the fact that late admission is not a reason for compassionate withdrawal.

12. When a learner fails a pre-requisite course(s) and is not able to commence course(s) they are already enrolled in, a refund will be paid for the course(s) which required the prerequisite.

13. Where a learner withdraws from a programme of study/course(s) after commencement, but before the fees are paid and before the last date for withdrawal, any refund amount is deducted from the fees payable, and the learner is responsible for payment of outstanding fees as notified.

14. Only one (1) deferral is allowed per learner to a maximum period of one (1) academic year.  A request for deferral of commencement of a programme of study/course(s) on or within the last date for a refund will be approved.

      a. The learner will be guaranteed a place in the next academic year intake and the fee for that year will apply. Fees will not be held over until the next academic year.

      b. Every effort will be made to guarantee a place in the next academic year or offer an alternative qualification and new fees will apply to the deferred enrolment.

15. An international learner who gains Permanent Residency will not receive a refund of fees for the enrolment period during the time which the Permanent Residency was granted, however, the learner will be entitled to pay domestic fees for any course(s) that have not commenced and subsequent enrolments.

16. Otago Polytechnic Limited is unable to claim Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding for any learner who has never attended (or, in the case of online learning, never logged on), even if they have paid their fees. If the learner does not formally withdraw, Otago Polytechnic Limited will set their record to ‘Student Not Started (SNS) and refund any fees that have been paid (refer to sub-clause 20.2). The refund will be provided to the person or organisation that paid their fees and the record will be removed from the Single Data Return Equivalent Full Time Student (EFTS) claim.

Withdrawals with No Refund

  1. A learner who is excluded or has had their enrolment terminated due to academic or disciplinary procedures is not entitled to any refund for a programme of study/course(s) that have commenced but will be refunded for any course(s) that have not commenced. Refer to Learner Discipline Policy.
  2. There is no refund for any learner who withdraws after the last date for withdrawal with a refund (first ten percent (10%) of the course/programme).
  3. Requests for withdrawal after the last withdrawal date will only be considered in exceptional circumstances (refer to Withdrawal on Compassionate Grounds).
  4. When a learner stops attending, including engagement with online activities, after the refund date and does not formally withdraw and/or fees have been overdue for four (4) weeks and the learner is unable to be contacted, Otago Polytechnic Limited will withdraw the learner.

20.1 These withdrawals are documented using the online withdrawal form (able to be generated in EBS and populated with accurate learner enrolment data) signed by the Programme Head/Head of College or delegate.

20.2 These withdrawals must only be made after two (2) written attempts to contact the learner and the emails/letters/texts must be on file in the SMS, or a written record in EBS of any phone contact. In such cases, there must be a follow-up letter on file.

Withdrawal on Compassionate Grounds
  1. In exceptional circumstances, withdrawals may be considered on compassionate grounds (‘compassionate withdrawal’) upon receipt of written evidence (such as support from a health professional) provided by the learner. Compassionate withdrawals must be signed by the Programme Head/Head of College and submitted to Academic Registry by the Programme Head or delegate. Compassionate withdrawals may be approved for refunds outside normal refund criteria, or for withdrawals outside normal withdrawal criteria.

     21.1 Compassionate grounds are considered to be events outside the learner’s control that could not have been predicted and that have had a significant impact on the learner’s ability to continue studying in the current academic year or the foreseeable future. This may include but is not limited to illness, significant accidents, personal injury to self or a close family member that would affect the learner's ability to continue studying.

     21.2 Compassionate grounds will not be considered sufficient for a refund of fees where the learner could have continued in the programme of study/course(s) with support or where the learner has chosen to withdraw for other reasons.

  1. Applications for compassionate withdrawal made before the refund date will be processed as a withdrawal with a refund rather than a compassionate withdrawal.
  2. All withdrawal applications on compassionate grounds should be made at the earliest possible time. After receipt of the application, Academic Registry may seek evidence from the Programme Head/Head of College as to whether compassionate withdrawal/refund is reasonable in the circumstances.
  3. All withdrawal applications on compassionate grounds will be forwarded by the College to Academic Registry.  Academic Registry will record the application in the SMS and has delegated authority from the Deputy Chief Executive Learner Journey to make decisions within defined process guidelines.  Any cases that may be outside of standard operating guidelines will not be actioned by Academic Registry staff but will be escalated to the Team Leader Academic Registry in the first instance.  The Director Learner Services or Director Te Punaka Ōwheo (TPO) may be consulted if appropriate, and if a decision still cannot be met, the case will be escalated  to the Deputy Chief Executive Learner Journey or in their absence Te Kaihāpai who has authority to decide on the outcome of a withdrawal application on compassionate grounds and the refund for any individual learner.

     24.1 Programme Head/Head of College does not have the delegation to make a decision regarding withdrawal applications on compassionate grounds.

     24.2 The decision to refund fees on compassionate grounds will take into consideration the learner’s circumstances, the length of time in a programme of study/course(s), including the last date for withdrawal, final assessment, and end of the programme of study/course(s).

     24.3 Any refund will be provided to the person or organisation that paid their fees i.e., the learner, StudyLink, Free Fees, Targeted Trades and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF), unless there is documentation to the contrary.

  1. A withdrawal application on compassionate grounds may be approved with no fee refund.

Refund of External Examination Fees

  1. External examination fees will be refunded if withdrawn prior to the cut-off for the examination. If examination fees have been sent to the examining body, a request for a refund must be made by the learner directly to the appropriate organisation.

Change of Enrolment/Transfers

  1. Learners may make changes to their enrolment and/or transfer prior to starting the programme of study/course(s) or within the first ten percent (10%) of the programme of study/course(s) commencement with no academic or financial penalty after consultation and agreement of Programme Head/Head of College.
  2. Depending on the different programme of study/course(s) fees and payment method learners may either be refunded or required to pay additional fees.

     28.1 Any refund amount will be credited to the new programme of study/course(s) if a learner paid the fees and StudyLink/Fees Free/Targeted Trades, and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) was not used to pay the fees.

          28.1.1 StudyLink loan will be refunded to StudyLink. A new StudyLink loan will need to be drawn down by the learner for the new programme of study/course(s). It is the responsibility of the learner to contact StudyLink to advise of the change in programme of study/course(s).

          28.1.2 Free Fees for the new programme of study/course(s) will be assessed by TEC to determine learner eligibility allocation and the learner will be liable for any difference in fees.

         28.1.3 TTAF fees will be refunded to TEC, if the transfer is not to a TTAF eligible TEC-specific programme of study the learner will be liable for any fees associated with the new programme of study.

  1. Learners wishing to transfer from one (1) programme of study/course(s) to another outside the ten percent (10%) delivery period window may do so by a negotiated agreement with the respective programme of study Programme Head/Head of College on a case-by-case basis.

     29.1 Depending on the programme of study/course(s) stage of delivery any academic results entered cannot be changed and only a partial refund may be available.

    29.2 It is not possible to transfer learners between calendar years.

 Cancellation of a Programme of Study/Course(s)/Course Occurrence(s)

  1. Otago Polytechnic Limited reserves the right to cease or cancel a programme of study/course(s)/course occurrence(s) if there are insufficient enrolments prior to programme of study/course(s)/course occurrence commencement or the programme of study/course(s)/course occurrence(s) does not fit with Otago Polytechnic Limited’s investment plan and/or strategic direction.

     30.1 The Deputy Chief Executive: Academic Delivery with authorisation from the Chief Executive is responsible for cancelling a programme of study/course(s)/course occurrence(s) and ensuring approved procedures are followed, including notifying learners enrolled, or in the process of enrolling, external stakeholders, lecturers, College administration staff, Academic Registry, People, Culture and Safety, Finance, Marketing and Communications, Contact Centre, and the Academic Excellence Team.


  1. Any learner who wishes to dispute the transfer, withdrawal or refund decision must do so within one (1) month of receiving the notification (letter, email, invoice, or statement) showing the outstanding amount.

     31.1 A request to review the outstanding amount must be made in writing to Otago Polytechnic Limited, within the specified time period. There is discretion to accept reviews lodged outside the normal one (1) month time period if Otago Polytechnic Limited considers that there was a good reason for the delay.

    31.2 The review should be completed within seven (7) working days of the date of receipt of the application for review. Any outstanding monies owing at the outcome of the review are to be paid to Otago Polytechnic Limited immediately after notification is received.

  1. Any issues regarding withdrawal, transfer, programme of study/course(s) cancellations, and the refund of fees that are unable to be resolved at Academic Registry, are to be discussed with the Deputy Chief Executive: Learner Journey or Te Kaihāpai.
  2. International and domestic learners who are still not satisfied following a review can make a complaint to the external Dispute Resolution Operator (refer to NZQA).

megan gibbons signature

Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive

19 November, 2022